Originally published April 30, 2012
The Georgia Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, hosted a lunch and learn cooking demonstration for Public Health employees on April 17, featuring Executive Chef Holly Chute from the Governor's Mansion.
The event was organized in support of InSTEP - Insulin Support, Tips and Exercise Program - to encourage employees to eat healthy, remove white hazards from their diet and get moving throughout the work day.
More than 50 participants, along with Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, walked from 2 Peachtree to the brand new kitchen at the Department of Agriculture. They were greeted with more than the appetizing smell of onions, herbs and spices - they also were introduced to simple meals which can quickly be prepared for family and friends.
Chute's menu included mixed green salad with lemon, extra-virgin olive oil and fresh parmesan, citrus herb grilled chicken, quinoa pilaf, local greens sautéed, and Greek yogurt with strawberries, honey, basil, white balsamic.
"I used a regular balsamic vinegar with the yogurt and berries and a chili garlic olive oil to sauté the greens," said Chute. "I used Swiss chard, beet greens, collards and kale. The greens took two to three minutes to sauté. The quinoa took about 20 minutes to cook, as did the chicken."
Chute has worked for six Georgia governors: George Busbee, Joe Frank Harris, Zell Miller, Roy Barnes, Sonny Perdue and now Nathan Deal. She oversees all meals served at the Governor's Mansion.
Chute introduced some of Georgia's farmers as special guests, including Liz Porter from Buckeye Creek Farm (greens and grits); Terry and Jeannie Ross from Ross Berry Farm and Apiaries (honey and berries); Steven Bell and Adam Parker from Atlanta Gourmet Mushroom; James Dault from Sweetwater Growers (herbs and greens); Cagle Farm House (seasonal vegetables); and Rockin S Farm (jelly and jam). Participants were able to sample and purchase Georgia grown produce and cooking ingredients.
Frank Sanchez, a registered environmental health specialist with the environmental health program, was absolutely impressed with Chute's cooking tips and presentation.
"I thought her menu was amazing," said Sanchez. "I especially enjoyed the quinoa and the greens. I tasted fennel bulb for the first time."
He said he has cooked Chute's recipes for the grilled chicken, quinoa, and greens twice for his family. "I already had Swiss chard and beet greens in my garden," Sanchez said. "I went to Whole Foods to buy the collard greens and kale and enjoyed a healthy and tasty meal."
"She made eating healthy look so easy," said Bunmi Bamidele, a programmer/analyst III for the office of information technology. "I tasted small portions of the quinoa and grilled chicken and I didn't feel hungry after eating. I enjoyed the entire cooking experience with Chef Holly."
All audience participants received free copies of the EatingWell magazine and the 2012 EatingWell calendar. Ten lucky winners also received "Georgia Grown" t-shirts.
Chef Holly Chute's lunch and learn recipes will be available soon on the Georgia SHAPE Website.